King Badhragiri decided to become a sanyasi, handed over his kingdom to his minister and went in search of Pattinathaar. He found Pattinathaar and requested Pattinathaar to accept him as his disciple. Pattinathaar denied saying that Badhragiri was a king, who has lived a posh life and being a Sanyasi means relinquishing everything in life as nothing belongs to a sanyasi, even the air he breathes does not belong to him. But Badhragiri was determined; he expressed his determination to be a disciple of Pattinathaar by turning to be sanyasi. Pattinathaar finally agreed to take Badhragiri as his disciple.

Then they started out on their journey south. They followed the rule of the Sanyasi, relinquishing everything. For food, they just get some alms from the homes that provided food. During some days they get food in plenty, well enough to feed thrice a day or even more, and on some days they don’t get food at all.

One day, Badhragiri found a Thiruvodu and he took it. Pattinathaar told him that a Sanyasi has no property, so he told Badhragiri to leave that Thiruvodu where he found. Badhragiri justified saying that they don’t get food quite often and the Thiruvodu is the vessel used by Sanyasis, even Lord Shiva used it. Pattinathaar said, “It’s your wish”. Then they proceeded, later Badhragiri found a small bag, he took and looked at Pattinathaar, again Pattinathaar told “See you are starting to gather your assets”. Badhragiri argued, “it’s of no use to others, why not we using it”. Pattinathaar said, “It’s your wish” and proceeded.

And on another day, he found a puppy stranded in the road. It was very weak and appeared as if it hadn’t eaten for a few days. Badhragiri took pity on the puppy, fed it well and took it with him. Pattinathaar reminded Badhragiri that he was a Sanyasi and he is going back into his family bonding by taking the puppy with him. Again, Badhragiri argued that being a sanyasi does not mean that we should ignore the poor and hapless creatures. As usual, Pattinathaar said, “It’s your wish” and proceeded.

A few days passed, then one day, both of them did not get any food for the day and they decided to rest for the night in the Thinnai – a small area in front of the house, usually where people sit. Pattinathaar lay down to rest in one end of the lobby and Badhragiri in the other end keeping all the possessions and the puppy nearby. Sometime later in the night, a beggar came near Pattinathaar and begged for food. Pattinathaar and Badhragiri woke up on hearing the beggar. Pattinathaar told the beggar that he is a Sanyasi however the man on the other end of the lobby is a family man and he might have something.

Badhragiri realised that Pattinathaar was mentioning about the the various things he had collected in due course has made him attached to those things. At the same time, he got angry because he renounced everything to become a Sanyasi, yet his own Guru told that he is still a family man. Immediately he threw away his possessions and threw the puppy against the wall that it died after having a last gaze at Badhragiri. Badhragiri could not understand the meaning of that gaze the puppy gave him. Then the beggar showed who He was, He was lord Shiva incarnate. Lord Shiva gave enlightenment to Badhragiriyar and vanished

However, Pattinathaar had to wait for some more time until he reached Thiruvottriyur and he was playing with the kids out there, he attained enlightenment and turned into a Shiva lingam.

That was the life history of the legendary Pattinathaar who was born as a wealthy man, but renounced everything on realisation that nothing in this world is permanent. He has left us his life experiences and his realisations as songs that will serve as a reminder that one should not be attached to the materialistic possessions in this world.

More to come, until then…